Sorry! from Lebanon

November 27, 2015


What happened in Paris last night was awful. I stayed up late following the news in disbelief and I am so sorry to anyone who has been affected by these horrible attacks. The international community has responded, as predicted, by showing their unwavering solidarity with Paris.

The night before that, a bomb went off in my country, Lebanon, killing 43 people. No one prayed for us. No one kept us in their thoughts. No world leaders made late-night statements about us. No one changed their profile pictures. There was no hashtag. No option to be “marked as safe” by Facebook. Just silence.

Syria has suffered more than can be quantified in words and distilled into a Facebook status. They get nothing. Just more silence. 73 Palestinians were killed by Israel in October alone. Silence.

Nearly 100 people were killed by explosions at a peace rally in Ankara last month. Just silence. At least 3,500 people have been killed in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger in conflict this year. Silence.


I’m not even angry at this point, just tired. Exhausted. Exhausted that an assault on an open air prison like Gaza which leaves 2300 people dead gets little to no attention but the minute something happens in Europe, something happens to white people, everyone is so (I think quite genuinely) broken up about it.
I’m not saying don’t be. I’m not saying that the people who lost their lives last night do not deserve to be mourned because of course they do.
They were innocent and now they are dead. As an Arab, we know better than anyone how it hurts and we should all continue to keep them in our thoughts.
But what about us? Don’t we deserve to be mourned? Are we not human enough? Are we too Arab for you? Too black for you? Too Other for you? Do you find it impossible to empathise with us because of the colour of our skin? There’s a word for that.

And then, after all of this, after all is said and done. After it hits us, just how little we matter. Just how insignificant and inferior we are as human beings. That’s when the best part comes. My favourite part.

Apologise. We are told to apologise. It is demanded of us. WE need to apologise for the actions of barbarians who have been doing their worst to us for so long now. We are the victims. What you experience at the hands of these extremists is a fraction of what Syria experiences. Of what Lebanon experiences. We put up with it every single day. And now, in some kind of sick, twisted joke, we are asked to apologise. We are to be held accountable. The main victims and refugees of this tragedy must pay. As if we have not yet paid enough in blood and land and dignity.

Sorry. We’re sorry that you have occupied our lands, pillaged them, divvied them up between you like gold. We’re sorry that you’ve robbed us of our wealth, dignity and freedom. We’re sorry that you’ve left nothing in your wake except rubble and anger. We’re sorry that those disillusioned and disenfranchised people you left in your wake hurtle into extremism.

We’re sorry that you benefit from their barbarity. We’re sorry that you allow them to do these things to us, that you encourage them and provide them with the resources they need to do us harm. We’re sorry they turn against you in the end. We’re sorry they came back for you. We’re sorry.
We hope you can find it in you to forgive us.

Claude Lacaille, priest

November 23, 2015

Toronto Launch and Talk - Claude Lacaille Rebel Priets

Claude Lacaille came to Toronto last Friday night and charmed a full house at that boiler room of great new ideas Beit Zatoun. What a great story he had to tell.What a grand priestly life. What a model for young priests.
In the mid 80s he returned from the missions in Brazil to a Quebec he did not understand. At 23 decades earlier he had gone into a hut in Haiti and experienced a transformation: he was asked to give the last rites to a 30 year old woman who was dying, leaving 2 children orphaned.Then a new priesthood was born. He grasped the utter futility of the one of the big SACRAMENTS, formerly called Extreme Unction.There was absolutely no connection with the sacrament and the the broken lives of the radically poor in Haiti, and later in Ecuador. The sacrament had lost its power. It no longer signified anything.It was a text without a context.
And most of the time there is no sacramental connection here in our advanced capitalist neoliberal world.Eucharists are celebrated daily with little effect and lesser knowledge that Jesus celebrated but one-and then was murdered.there is little connection between the “broken bread” on the altar and the price we must pay to heal the world, our disrupted “broken lives” we pour out for God’s kingdom of peace and justice or as the Jews would say for “tikkun olam” for the healing of the world.Capitalism and its blandishments too often takes the dynamite out of the gospel.
In most of the parishes foreign born priests are piloted into a new context and asked to “Priest” God’s people. For the most part, they have no understanding of the Canadian context, their language skills are lacking and they bring a very mediocre theological education at best. As well many are infected with a deep misogyny.They are caught in a time warp, not of their own making. Those who bring them in from Poland and Nigeria to keep a dying institution alive are betraying the Catholic people by being utterly subservient to Rome and refusing to demand the great sin of the Roman church, gender injustice. The necessary talent is right in front of their episcopal noses—married men, women–but these craven bishops will not demand the necessary end of a sexist priesthood.
The worst example is on the margins in Canada’s north.The great Oblate bishops, many from France, for decades begged and pleaded to ordain native ministers, indigenous men whose culture has never accepted celibacy. For 50 years or more Rome ignored the advice of these great missionaries, forced aging men to travel huge distances in Canada’s polar regions. In the same period the Anglican church ordained over 50 native priests—usually married. Similarly in Ontario’s north, Bishop Alexander Carter (d.2002) made the same request of Rome. Denied. It broke his heart.
“We’re stuck”, he told me.

Now we have empty churches. In Trois Rivieres Claude’s hometown, there are 3 parishes.There used to be 17. Yet the Holy Spirit still is on the move, usually outside the stunned institution. The JP ll bishops were afraid of the Spirit, relying on harsh diktats from Rome.The churches emptied. Between 2000-2010 the Pew Research said 30 million Catholic left the Church in that period. The American bishops shrugged their shoulders.They are still autistic. In their latest meeting they set their priorities:
• Evangelization
• Family and marriage (including attempts to rollback same-sex marriage and support for government officials who refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-gender couples)
• Ending abortion and limiting access to contraception
• Vocations to priesthood
• Religious liberty


Nothing about the poor, climate justice etc. Poor Pope Francis having to deal with these men.

The fault of course is not entirely that of a moribund institution. Jews and Protestants are having the same problem. We have moved from a communal paradigm of family, clan and traditional stratified societies to a more dynamic one where people are demanding the freedom to choose. As we saw in Quebec and now in Ireland traditional societies “priest ridden” as James Joyce called Ireland to more fluid and dynamic cultures. This radical change was named in Vatican ll’s Gaudium et Spes(1965).
Today, the human race is involved in a new stage of history. Profound and rapid changes are spreading by degrees around the whole world. Triggered by the intelligence and creative energies of man, these changes recoil upon him, upon his decisions and desires, both individual and collective, and upon his manner of thinking and acting with respect to things and to people. Hence we can already speak of a true cultural and social transformation, one which has repercussions on man’s religious life as well.

The institutional Catholic church thought that the top down hierarchical model of Father knows best would last forever. They built huge seminaries only to find them empty within a few years. Lay people’s theological education exploded. No more,”pay, pray and obey”. Soon the new theological literacy began to quickly make the local parish priest seem outdated. The 60s shattered the mental horizons of so many priests leaving them in the dust, frustrated and often bitter. Their seminary education had nor prepared them for the change. They refused to come to terms with the Holy Spirit’s gift of feminism, thereby alienating both educated men and women. By the mid 70s the most creative priests had left.Those who stayed bravely carried on but many had lost energy as they watched the best and brightest leave and an old institution caught in a paradigm change and seemingly unable to change.A church which thought in centuries was caught flat-footed in the new rapid computer age.


The JPll/Ratzinger pontificate was the last dike in the wall, the last failed attempt to resurrect the hierarchical, patriarchal model of church. The best educated generation of lay people had moved on but the JPll/Ratzinger bishops were still in charge of local dioceses. It is painful to watch.


But great priests like Claude Lacaille and indeed several others adapted, heard the deeper cry of liberation among the people and responded. They were encouraged by a new pope who had really bought into the vision of the great Council. They embraced the Spirit’s call and were excited. Pope Francis said it well:



We want the Holy Spirit to sleep,We want to domesticate the Holy Spirit, and that just won’t do because he is God and he is that breeze that comes and goes, and you don’t know from where.People think it’s better to be comfortable, but that is not what the fire of the Holy Spirit brings.The council was a beautiful work of the Holy Spirit But after 50 years, have we done everything the Holy Spirit in the council told us to do? The answer, is “no.”


Claude Lacaille found his legs once again with the young in Quebec who saw through the neoliberal attempt to marginalize the poor and turn its back on the common good. His priesthood continues, radically integrated with the social struggle we are all engaged in.

O Hilary! O the times!

November 20, 2015

Hilary Clinton continues to embarrass me—and I am sure millions of others. The Clinton power couple aerned in speaking fees from 2008 to 2012 $53 million. and Harry Truman used to pay for his  stamps while in the White House.O tempora, o mores!

Then there is her sickening grovel for Jewish money in the letter to billionaire Haim Saban was pathetic—almost as bad as her views on Israel.

Well, this made my day.

A Palestinian Feminist’s Response to Hilary Clinton
Dear Secretary Clinton:


As a young Palestinian girl growing up in a patriarchal society, your speeches about women’s rights inspired me to imagine a world where gender equality could exist. As first lady, you famously declared, “Women’s rights are human rights.” That’s something I strongly believe, too.

That’s why I was surprised to read your article in The Forward. I was surprised because when you chose to speak about my homeland, not once did you mention Israel’s human rights violations against Palestinian women and children. Even worse, you described us as lurking terrorists motivated only by “incitement,” as if the Israeli military occupation does not exist.

I am not a terrorist. I do not believe in the use of violence. I am a young Palestinian woman who grew up under occupation and is trying to better my life through education. It has not been easy. Starting at the age of five, I had to pass through Israeli military checkpoints to go to school. I was searched and humiliated on a daily basis, along with my parents and sisters. One day soldiers released dogs to chase after us. They shot their guns at us. I could have been killed, as many Palestinians are, for no reason. I could have been Hadeel Salah al-Hashlamun, the 18-year-old woman and college student who Israeli soldiers killed at a checkpoint in September.

There are millions of women and girls like me. What about us? According to your article, we do not exist. We are invisible, like women have been treated throughout history.

Did you know that half  of Palestinians are women and girls? Did you know that like our brothers, we also live under military occupation, and that Israeli settlers steal our land? Did you know that pregnant women rushing to the hospital have been stopped at checkpoints  and have given birth there? Did you know about Isra’ Abed, the young Palestinian mother who posed no threat but was gunned down by Israeli police in Afula? Did you know about Mohammed Abu Khdeir, the Palestinian child who was kidnapped and burned alive last year by Israeli settlers? Did you know that the Israeli army killed 17 Palestinian children  in the last month just for throwing stones, or for nothing at all?

You did not mention any of these things in your article. But I’m sure you know these things. You were the secretary of state and talk about getting the cease-fire in Gaza. I’m sure you know these things, but you chose to remain silent about them. Maybe that’s good politics here in America, but it means pretending that people like me do not exist.

Secretary Clinton, you have been an inspiration for women and girls around the world. My own dream is to become a human rights and peace activist, but your article left me deeply frustrated. I know you can be better. Please do not forget us again.


Layali Awwad

Tory robots come to life

November 18, 2015

Do Conservatives take voters for fools?:
Apparently they do. Bob Hepburn of the The Star made the following statement in his Nov.15 column
When they were in power, Conservative cabinet ministers were the loudest cheerleaders for Stephen Harper’s nastiest and most controversial decisions and policies.

Harper’s ugly Republican policies were widely scorned by Canadians and as we know all the true believers signed on as the sheep they were.

None of them dared stand up to the Commissar who ruled by diktak making all the decisions. What a pathetic crew.

Imagine agreeing never to attend an all candidates meeting in a democratic country.

But they happily drank the Koolaid.

but that was then…and this is now

Hepburn writes:

Suddenly, though, these same ministers today are backpedalling as fast as they can from the very policies and practices that they championed during the Harper era
Some of them are so pathetic in their efforts to distance themselves from disgraced Harper policies that they are verging on the excuse uttered by junior military officers of “just following orders.”

Where were these ministers over the last nine years? Were they that afraid of Harper, who ruled with an iron fist?


And now they have elected the Ayn Rand devotee Rona Ambrose, a disaster as environment minister as their leader and happy to relate, she is now all for a public inquiry into the missing aboriginal women

Wow,what a conversion!

Female prophet Haneen Zoabi

November 11, 2015


Israeli Palestinian MK Haneen Zoabi is a female prophet in Israel. Like the biblical prophets, she dares to speak truth to power and Israelis deep in their bubble of denial. totally severed by that ugly wall from Palestinian life, can not bear to hear her. Death threats abide for this courageous woman. They include a Facebook group which put a bull’s-eye right above her forehead.
Speaking to a progressive Dutch Jewish group on the anniversary of Kristilnacht, Zoabi dove right in:
“I am not an immigrant in my homeland, I am “one of 120,000 of her people who were not expelled by Israel in 1948,” Zoabi — born in Nazareth in 1969 — lashed the Jewish state for creating “more than 80 laws” that discriminate against Palestinians.

The Israeli rules, said Zoabi, are similar to the conditions under which Jews lived at the time of the 1938 Kristallnacht pogrom in Germany.

Standing just meters from the former site of a centuries-old Jewish orphanage decimated during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, she drew parallels between Hitler’s genocide against the Jews and current Israeli policy against Palestinians and Israeli-Arabs.


“I share their struggle,” said Zoabi of Jewish victims of the Kristallnacht, or “Night of Broken Glass” pogrom, now seen as a turning point leading up to the Shoah.

“The central lesson of the Crystal Night has not been learned,” said Zoabi during her 15-minute speech, delivered in English. Accusing Israel of “ethnic cleansing” modeled on Nazism, she denounced half a dozen Israeli officials by name for what she referred to as recent efforts to “justify the use of violence toward Palestinians.
“It is okay to kill Arabs, I have actually done so several times,” Zoabi quoted Minister of Education Naftali Bennett as one example of the Jewish state perpetrating Nazi-like policies against Palestinians.

Event organizers who invited Zoabi have been commemorating Kristallnacht in Amsterdam since the early 1990s, but the fringe group, largely Jewish, only began equating the Nazi genocide with Israeli policy in 2010.

Zoabi told the Times of Israel:

“It is very important to commemorate Kristallnacht. I stand up for freedom, dignity and human rights. Kristallnacht was an important stage on the way to the demonization of Jews. If the majority of the Germans and the rest of the Europeans had not demonized the Jews, there would have been no Holocaust. For me, the silence of the majority an important role. Not everyone agreed, but they kept their mouths shut in the face of demonization of the Jews.

What is Zoabi’s crime? She does not shut up. She simply rejects Israeli’s monopoly of suffering; she dared to link racial hatred of 1938 to the prevalent racism in Israel today. This act of imagination drives the israelis crazy. She dares to point out the similarities of Israeli legislation to laws promulgated by the Nazis.

Zoabi links the victimization of European Jews by the Nazis to the suffering of Palestinians under Occupation.  Zionists insist they have a monopoly on suffering and the world’s sympathy and exploit the Holocaust regularly for this purpose.  Having a Palestinian probe the issue and point out both the flaws in the argument and the implications racial hatred may have in today’s Israel-Palestine conflict is simply maddening.
“I’m used to it, that I am accused of being anti-Semite or Hamas supporter. The fact is that I stand up for the Palestinian people. This makes many Israelis, and apparently others angry. That is the real reason for the sedition against my person. For Israelis, the Palestinians have no right to resist. After all, they find that there is no occupation of Palestinian territory. In their eyes, the Palestinians do not suffer humiliation, arrests, land grabbing and so on. Israel is in total denial of the occupation, the harassment of Palestinians, of crimes against humanity. If you demonstrate against it, you’re supposedly agitating. They even have a problem with Europeans supporting the Palestinians, who they seek to prevent entering the country. Israel is the one who incites against the truth.  Every critical European voice it silences by calling it anti-Semitic. ”

50 years ago Roger Laporte immolated himself

November 9, 2015


On November 9, 1965, at the age of 22, Roger LaPorte set himself on fire in front of the United Nations building in New York City to protest the Vietnam War. He was a former seminarian and a member of the Catholic Worker Movement. Despite his burns, he remained conscious and able to speak at the hospital. When asked why he set himself on fire, La Porte replied, “I’m a Catholic Worker. I’m against war, all wars. I did this as a religious action.” La Porte died the next day

It is hard for most people to comprehend such an act of self-destruction putatively for a higher cause.Obviously Laporte like many Americans was appalled at the fire engulfing ordinary Vietnamese at this time—all supported by US tax dollars and a misguided militarist adventure. Laporte obviously was a highly sensitive person who deeply felt the unmerited suffering of those he considered family. Laporte looked around and saw virtually no rejection of the US appalling assault on the Vietnamese which took over 1 million civilian lives. His own catholic church was virtually mute. we will never know what his thinking was even though we shudder at his actions.

Yet Laporte was not alone.
Two years earlier On June 11, 1963, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Quang Duc, immolated himself at a Saigon intersection to protest Buddhist persecution by its Catholic president and US proxy Ngo Dinh Diem.

There were others too.

On March 16,1965 an 82 year old Jewish-American pacifist Alice Herz went the same route.

The most shocking was the self-immolation of Norman Morrison a 31 year old Quaker from Washington, D.C. Standing outside the office of Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, Morrison handed his 1 year old daughter Emily to a bystander he torched himself. His wife said that [S]he was a powerful symbol of the children we were killing with our bombs and napalm–who didn’t have parents to hold them in their arms.”

That amazing Catholic pacifist Fr.Charlie McCarthy wonders why Laporte has been forgotten.

Thich Quang Duc, is revered by Vietnamese Buddhists as a bodhisattva (saint), the intersection where he set himself afire has a monument and park dedicated to him and his intact heart is preserved as a relic of the spirit of compassion in a glass chalice. Alice Herz, who was also a refugee from Nazi Germany, has a plaza named after her in Berlin. Shingo Shibata, the Japanese philosopher, established the Alice Herz Peace Fund in her memory. Norman Morrison has a road named after him in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang. In Hanoi a street is named after him and the Government of Vietnam has issued a postage stamp in his honor. An HBO film about him has been made and poems and books have been written about him. Roger LaPorte’s charred dry bones lay in the ground of section 1, row 11 of Saint Alphonsus Cemetery in Tupper Lake, NY. —long dead, long gone and long forgotten.

McCarthy’s rationale:

By political and ecclesial necessity and arrangement the warriors, dead or alive, are fawned over, but the billions of non-warriors they maimed and destroyed must be kept out of sight, out of mind and out of memory, lest they reveal the immensity of the evil the honored warriors and their honorable puppet masters, have done to fellow human beings, who did them no harm and who intended to do nothing harmful to them. In other words the non-warrior victims of the warrior heroes must be expunged from history, must become as if they never existed, or if they existed were of no worth. The victorious warriors and their controllers, who carefully manage the memory of the past, so as to assure that in the future the young will experience being used as violent and lethal warriors as nobly heroic, must drown them in the vastness of time. The non-warrior victims of the honored and obedient warriors and their sting-pullers are, on the other hand, consigned to historical oblivion as unworthy of being remembered, as they were unworthy to continue life. To such a community of the dead has Roger Laporte been consigned—“unwept, unhonored and unsung.”

Hilary Clinton disastrous on Israel

November 8, 2015


Donning the prophet’s robe(one which he would run from) haaretz  writer Gideon levy  tells israelis and Americans an unwanted truth. Hilary Clinton is no friend  of israel. Her emvarrassing suck up to Jewish billionaire Haim Saban  was so cringe-inducing that most observers of cynical American politics simply had to turn away.

Here  is Gideon Levy, secular prophet in today’s Haaretz. iIwonder if any American paper would print this.

Hillary Clinton’s election as U.S. president would ensure Israel’s continued decline and degeneration. And so she is not a friend, but an enemy. She must not be allowed to deceive and present herself as a friend of Israel, as she tried so ingratiatingly to do in an article published in The Forward (“How I would reaffirm unbreakable bond with Israel — and Benjamin Netanyahu”) last week. The tear ducts were targeted as she wrote of how she assisted Magen David Adom in being accepted to the International Red Cross. But she and those like her – false friends of Israel – have been one of the curses on this country for years. Because of them, Israel can continue to act as wildly as it likes, thumbing its nose at the world and paying no price. Because of them, it can destroy itself unhindered.
Whether Clinton believes what she wrote or simply wanted once again to sell her soul for a fistful of dollars from Haim Saban and other Jewish donors, the result is extremely embarrassing. A love letter to Israel, the likes of which no U.S. statesman would ever write to another country. Americans believe “Israel is more than a country – it’s a dream,” she states. Most of the world calls it a nightmare, yet Clinton says a dream. What dream exactly? The dream of tyrannical control over another people? Racism? Nationalism? The killing of women and children in Gaza?
What happened to the Hillary Rodham Clinton who in her youth fought for civil rights and against the Vietnam War, and as a lawyer specialized in children’s rights? Did she not hear what her dream state is doing to Palestinian children? What happened to the glorious career woman who was considered liberal and justice-seeking on her way up? Did she forget it all? Does money buy everything? Or, when it comes to Israel, do all principles suddenly change?

“We will gas you until you die” Aida Camp Palestine

November 4, 2015


The arrogant Israeli Defense Forces are not very smart. They have not understood that the electronic revolution has come in judgment on their barbaric and sadistic practices. With their thinly disguised racist attitudes towards Palestinians, they openly broadcast their disturbing messages now caught on film and tape recorder. I guess in their arrogance they figure Palestinians are in the stone age and nobody will hear or see their crude daily activities.

AIDA camp is 2 ks north of Bethlehem in the West Bank. It was established in1950 as a refugee camp for the expelled Palestinians. I came here one year ago to taste Palestinian life under occupation. So I immediately related to the the story printed on the al Jazeera website on October 31,2015.


Written on the Separation Wall outside Aida

It turns out that a 17 year old resident of the camp captured on his cell phone a stunning warning from an Israeli officer riding in his car. Speaking in Arabic, the pride of Israel responding to the stone-throwing youth who were firing rocks at the nearby separation Wall. said the following:

Inhabitants of Aida, we are the Israeli occupation forces, if you throw stones we will hit you with gas until you die. The children, the youth, and the old people, all of you – we won’t spare any of you”.
We have arrested one of you. He is with us now. We took him from his home, and we will slaughter and kill him while you watch if you keep throwing stones, Go home or we will gas you until you die. Your families, your children, everyone – we will kill you.”

Now the state is master of propaganda for the goyim, the rest of the non-Jewish world who usually shrugs its shoulders at Israel’s ongoing brutality. So they suspended the officer. You can bet his career is over in the IDF. He made apparent what the state tries daily to hide from the rest of the world. It reminds me of Rabin’s scolding of Netanyahu for being blatant about occupying the West Bank. He basically told him to do it slowly like he did so the goyim would not notice.

The Zionist modus operandi always was a “slow motion genocide” (Pappé) as the saying went “dunam by dunam, goat by goat.” in this they have been successful, keeping their cruelty below the radar of the world population.All this before the electronic revolution.


The Key od Return : many Palestinians  have the keys to their stolen property. This  key is in the Aida camp.
A year ago almost to the day I got a taste of the tear gas as the army chased 10 year old kids running past me after throwing rocks and effing up the soldiers. I chuckled at the kids who play this game regularly. I did not laugh when I raced inside with my eyes burning.

The Badil Resource Centre for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights which iI visited the same day as the AIDA camp has condemned the latest developments, calling the officer’s announcement from the jeep “a clear and grave threat to collectively punish the population of Aida camp by way of lethal force”.

“Such an announcement is remarkable in its stated contempt for human life, as well as raising a multitude of grave concerns as to the adherence of Israeli forces to central tenets of international law,” Badil noted in a statement, citing a clear threat to kill Palestinians by way of extrajudicial executions, which would breach the Geneva Conventions.

Badil has called for an independent investigation into the incident, which comes amid escalating violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

Earlier in October the IDF shot and killed 13 year old Abdel Rahman Abdullah in the same camp. According to the Red crescent(Palestinian Red Cross) 760 Palestinians were shot with live rounds across the occupied Palestinian territory in October while another 1,857 were hit with rubber-coated steel bullets. He said that a further 5,399 Palestinians were treated for excessive tear gas inhalation during the period, while another 246 were injured in other ways, including assault by Israeli soldiers and burns from tear gas canisters. The spokesperson said that it brought the total injured during October to 8,262 Palestinians.

As for the disgraced soldier, you wonder what kind of Jew would be so stupid to speak about gassing other people given the history of the Nazi genocide.


Irish priests: ordain women

November 3, 2015


Fr. Tony Fannery CssR

Some priests are no longer afraid…and why should they be? The Vatican ban on female ordination, an idee fixe of John Paul ll never made any sense. It simply flew in the face of contemporary wisdom and gender justice. Brave priests like Roy Bourgeois got canned for daring to speak truth to this nonsensical dictum but now the dam is bursting and where else but in Ireland.

Long ago the sensus fidelium of the Catholic church, those who actually live with women and who have daughters simply cannot abide this rank injustice.Not much the Vatican can do with such as these.

Many good priests just lower their heads in embarrassment at this medieval prejudice but for many it is a serious justice issue.

Poor Pope Francis is caught on the horns of the papal dilemma and tradition—you don’t contradict a previous pope, so we wont see much movement on his part.

Meanwhile the cries get louder and we welcome the guts of the Irish priests below.

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal. 3, 28)
In the Catholic Church women, despite being equal to men by virtue of their Baptism, are excluded from all positions of decision making, and from ordained ministry. In 1994 Pope John Paul II declared that the exclusion of women from priesthood could not even be discussed in the Church. Pope Benedict reaffirmed, and even strengthened this teaching by insisting that it was definitive and that all Catholics were required to give assent to this view. Pope Francis has said that Pope John Paul II had reflected at length on this matter, had declared that women could never be priests and that, therefore, no further discussion on the ordination of women to ministry is possible. In reality, Pope John Paul II did not encourage or facilitate debate on the ordination of women to priesthood or diaconate before he made his decision. Furthermore, there was virtually no discussion on the complex cultural factors which excluded women from leadership roles in many societies until recently.
We, the undersigned, believe that this situation is very damaging, that it alienates both women and men from the church because they are scandalised by the unwillingness of Church leaders to open the debate on the role of women in our church. This alienation will continue and accelerate.
We are aware that there are many women who are deeply hurt and saddened by this teaching. We also believe that the example given by the Church in discriminating against women encourages and reinforces abuse and violence against women in many cultures and societies. It is also necessary to remember that women form the bulk of the congregation at Sunday Mass and have been more active in the life of the local churches than many men, mirroring the fidelity of the women who followed Jesus to the end, to his death on Calvary. The command of Jesus “Go, teach all nations” was addressed to all his followers, and by failing to accept the full equality of women, the church is not fulfilling this commission.
The strict prohibition on discussing the question has failed to silence the majority of the Catholic faithful. Survey after survey indicates that a great many people are in favour of full equality for women in the Church. But it has managed to silence priests and bishops, because the sanctions being imposed on those who dare to raise the question are swift and severe.
We believe that we can no longer remain silent because to do so colludes with the systemic oppression of women within the Catholic Church. So, in the spirit of Pope Francis constant encouragement of dialogue, we are calling for free and open discussion concerning the full equality of women in all facets of Church life, including all forms of ministry. If this were to happen, the credibility of the Catholic Church would gain strength, especially when it addresses women’s issues.

Eamonn McCarthy

Kevin Hegarty

Roy Donovan

Padraig Standun

Adrian Egan

Benny Bohan

Sean McDonagh

John D. Kirwin

Ned Quinn

Donagh O’Meara

Tony Conry

Tony Flannery

All Saints Day November 1

October 31, 2015

For the secular saints in Israel

Gideon Levy  Amira Hass  Yitzhak Laor

Fire in their hearts


Heroes are people who do ordinary things—
care for the poor, speak the truth, reject evil, love God—
to an extraordinary degree.
These men and women are so possessed
by an internal vision of divine goodness
that they give us a glimpse of the face of God
in the center of the human.
They give us a taste of the possibilities of the greatness
in ourselves.


Throughout history these heroes—
lay and religious, male and female, Christian and non-Christian—
have stretched the very soul of humanity.

These are figures
gleaming in their holy causes
who have lived in circumstances similar to ours
and have shown us how to live
with character, with courage, with passion
for the right, the true, the holy.


They hold a fire in their hearts
bright enough to light the way for many.
They stand on gilded stilts
above the rest of their generation
and become a sign for all generations.
They are proof of possibility from ages past
and a symbol of hope
for ages yet to come.

Their lives provoke and prod
a critical measure of our own
until it becomes clear that sanctity


is simply a matter of living for the reign of God
with conscience, with voice, and with authenticity

—from A Fire in Their Hearts: 2016 Joan Chittister Calendar. For more information, click here.


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